I went snuffling out a new lunch spot to review today and this little gem came up trumps: Cafe Coho – Winner of ‘The Argus Award’ for ‘Brighton’s Best Loved Cafe’. Right on the corner of Ship Street, it occupies a grade two listed building, just a stone’s throw from the beach. Coho (short for coffee-house) is run by husband a wife, Jo and James Wilson who set up the cafe shortly after Jo was offered voluntary redundancy from her marketing job.
Inside I found the decor had a rustic but obviously designed feel, with antique Victorian church seats, exposed brickwork and reclaimed wood tops. Soulful vocals from Amy Winehouse oozed through the building, easing me into a state of relaxation as soon as I stepped through the doors.
Food-wise the focus is free-range, locally sourced ingredients (where possible) with an offering of tasty paninis, pastries and cakes, as well as Union Coffee which is hand-roasted in small batches to ensure paramount quality and freshness.
On my visit today, I was drawn to the Toasted Cumberland Sausage Panini with Spicy Chutney, Fresh Tomato and Salad Leaves (£4.45) and it was insanely good. The panini was fresh, deliciously crunchy and lightly dusted with flour. Inside the tangy chutney set the spicy Cumberland sausage off a real treat and I’m not afraid to say that it’s the best flavour tomato chutney I’ve ever tasted. (Hint hint – bottle that baby and sell it!) I’d happily trade my Heinz ketchup or HP sauce in all future breakfast rolls for a slavering of the Coho chutney on my bloomer bread!
Price-wise it’s at the steeper end of the lunch spots, but considering the generous serving, quality ingredients and friendly service, you can’t quibble this. If my bank balance and my stomach permitted me I would have gone for the Ozzy Egglette £2.20 and the Millionaires Shortbread £2.50 as well. The Ozzy Egglette, a magnificent ball of bacon, fried egg, sun-blushed tomato and pesto – my idea of food heaven.
Instead, I settled myself in the window with my panini and a glass of coke and watched Brighton’s characters walk by outside. Perfect.
It’s worth noting that there are more than 60 seats in Coho, across its three floors, so ample space for a group of friends. Coho is also now open every Friday and Saturday evening up until 10 pm, offering cured meats and cheeses, many of which are local, as well as vegetarian appetisers and a selection of wines to compliment.
So take yourself along, take advantage of the free wi-fi or while away the hours over a good book and a rich coffee or well-earnt glass of vino one evening.
PRICE: £4.50 for a panini
RATING: Must Go | Worth A Try | Give It A Miss